Category: News Briefs - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
To date, voters have not heard one word from any of the candidates about their platform. We have no idea what any of them plan to do about jobs, homelessness, high taxes..... nothing. Not one word. Instead, what we get is constant posturing to eliminate one candidate over the other based on technicalities.
The latest strategic move is a Detroit barber filing to run as a write-in candidate for Mayor.
According to several sources as of Thursday, there is a new write-in candidate for the city of Detroit mayoral race: Mike Dugeon. If his name sounds familiar it is because Mike Dugeon name is pronounced just like write-in candidate Mike Duggan.
Detroit was first introduced to Dugeon, a barber, when WJBK-TV (Fox 2) reporter Charlie LeDuff interviewed him at this Detroit home regarding a tip that he was running for mayor. At the time Dugeon said it was a joke.
However, according to City Clerk Janice Winfrey, it is not a joke. Winfrey confirmed that Dugeon turned in paperwork Thursday.
Although Dugeon has no previous political experience nor does his campaign show any political platform, he has turned in paperwork and created a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DugeonForDetroit for his campaign and even has a slogan - Dugeon’s slogan is “Every Citizen Has a Future.”
A write-in challenger with a similar name could introduce confusion into a already complicated election. With the primary around the corner, Detroiters will have more than just a traditional mayoral Election Day awaiting them.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 July 2013 10:10
Category: News Briefs Written by Ruth Manuel-Logan/Newsone
For the past month, DeAndre Martin claims he has been racially harassed and threatened at his Arnold, Mo., customer service workplace, and after company management has reportedly refused to act on the abuse, Martin has decided to go public with his experience, according to the Huffington Post.
Martin, who is reportedly employed by Convergys, told Fox 2 that he first began receiving the threatening images on July 11th. The first drawing allegedly depicted a Black man hanging from a tree. Just four days later, after ending his workday, another incident allegedly took place: When the 24-year-old man approached his car, which had been sitting in the company's parking lot, he allegedly saw the word "N*gger" — along with a picture of a noose — spray painted on his car.
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2013 14:40
Category: News Briefs Written by Paige Lavender/ Huffington Post
Former President George H.W. Bush shaved his head this week to show solidarity with Patrick, the son of a member of his security detail who's battling cancer.
Patrick, 2, lost his hair during treatment for leukemia. Bush, along with members of his Secret Service detail, showed their support for their friend by going bald as well.
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2013 11:53
Category: News Briefs Written by Huffington Post
Brooke Harris is no stranger to causing controversy in schools.
Last year, the teacher was fired from her job at Pontiac Academy for Excellence in Pontiac, Mich., after she helped students facilitate a fundraiser for the family of Trayvon Martin. Now she is facing termination from Detroit's Mumford High School after being accused of helping students organize a walkout over the school's policies.
While officials at Mumford High School have not commented on the specifics of the matter, Harris tells The Huffington Post she was not in town while the walkout took place and had nothing to do with the incident. Instead, she says she believes she is being punished for her involvement in a controversial student club and for publicly speaking out against the Education Achievement Authority (EAA), the body that runs the high school. Continue To HuffPost...
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2013 08:21
Category: News Briefs Written by Curbed Detroit
The incredible debacle we've been calling Fail Jail has evolved into something epic. Just last month, we were simply hoping Wayne County would give up on its aspirations to build a jail in downtown Detroit. Somehow, that's snowballed into well-monied developers pitching competing plans redevelop a massive swath of downtown Detroit. Dan Gilbert submitted his idea for a $500M entertainment district last week, but Triple Properties—owners of the Silverdome and Penobscot—have countered with their own plan costing over a BILLION DOLLARS. Yes, it involves yet another arena. Continue to Curbed Detroit...
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2013 08:12
Category: News Briefs Written by Patrick Keating, Chronicle Staff Writer
The Wayne County Department of Public Health recently commenced its annual summer food service for children, teenagers to age 18 and eligible young adults. The program distributes free, nutritious lunches to residents at 21 community sites in: Belleville, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Ecorse, Highland Park, Inkster, Livonia, River Rouge, Riverview, Romulus, Taylor, Wayne and Westland.
Meals are served weekdays, through Aug. 16, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The service is available in many Wayne County school districts where students receive free or reduced-price lunches during the regular school year.
"This program helps Wayne County families stretch their hard-earned food dollars during economically-challenging times by providing thousands of meals each year," said Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. "Most importantly, children are able to receive wholesome, healthy and enjoyable lunches during the summer—nutritional meals they might not otherwise get." In recent years, the Wayne County program has served as many as 71,000 lunches annually.
Menus are selected to represent essential food groups and taste-tested by registered dieticians and nutritionists. Food items feature popular favorites, as well as new meal selections.
In addition, the program provides free lunches for residents through age 26 who are considered mentally or physically-challenged by a state or local educational agency or who participate in public or private non-profit school programs for the handicapped.
"We are extremely pleased to support and facilitate this important food service program for Wayne County's children and young adults by providing nutritious meals, helping meet families' dietary needs and encouraging healthy eating habits," said Dr. Mouhanad Hammami, chief of Health Operations/Health Officer, Wayne County Health and Human Services.
The summer food program, which ensures that no eligible child will be turned away hungry, is funded by and operated in accordance with federal laws under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is administered by the Wayne County Department of Public Health.
To get information on exact times and locations, please contact the Wayne County Department of Public Health at (734) 727-7107. Or click on www.waynecounty.com and go to the Health and Human Services tab.
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2013 02:26
Category: News Briefs Written by CNN News
Detroit's largest-ever municipal bankruptcy could make even more history on Wednesday when a federal judge is expected to rule on whether U.S. law trumps Michigan's constitutional protections to preserve the pensions of city workers.
The judge, Steven Rhodes of United States Bankruptcy Court, agreed to the hearing requested by Detroit’s emergency manager in response to a Michigan judge’s ruling that the city’s Chapter 9 filing violated the state’s Constitution because it could cut city workers’ pensions.
The emergency manager, Kevyn D. Orr, had filed a motion asking that the city be protected from litigation as it proceeds with its historic bankruptcy filing, made last week.
The judge's decision could impact dozens of other states and cities facing financial stress for years to come.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 12:08
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
As local and national political leaders as well as pundits take shots at who and what is to blame for the bankruptcy of a major American city like Detroit, the business leadership in the city is pledging stronger support of the Motor City following news that Detroit filed for bankruptcy on July 18, becoming the largest municipality in U.S. history to seek chapter 9 protection.
Emergency manager Kevyn Orr asked a federal judge last week to put the city into bankruptcy protection. And already the chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Alice M. Batchelder, has chosen prominent Detroit federal bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes to oversee the case.
Business leaders are pledging to stand by Detroit in this tough economic time despite what some national reviews have already said.
Dan Gilbert, founder and CEO of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans who has bought more than 18 buildings downtown and relocated thousands of his employees to Detroit, called the chapter 9 filing the first step toward a better and brighter tomorrow for Detroit.
“The financial condition the city finds itself in was years, if not decades, in the making. Bankruptcy will be painful for many individuals and organizations but together we will get through it and come out stronger on the other side,” Gilbert said. “It’s important that we ignore the noise that this filing will surely bring. Many forecasted the end for GM and Chrysler when they declared bankruptcy just a short few years ago. Today, GM and Chrysler are thriving. Detroit will thrive again as well and sooner than most think.”
Gilbert said just as the auto companies reinvented the way they do business, so will Detroit.
“Once our financial challenges are behind us, the city, region and state will have a clean slate to operate with a philosophy and strategy that works for its citizens, businesses and the entire community,” Gilbert said. “We are all in. We are more committed than ever to Detroit and the opportunities downtown. Detroit’s best days are ahead.”
Sandy Baruah, CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, agreed with Gilbert that the chapter 9 filing is necessary.
“Bankruptcy is the bold step needed to finally address Detroit’s financial problems in a meaningful and sustainable way. While nobody welcomes the concept of bankruptcy, it is necessary to solve the long-term structural financial challenges of this historic city,” Baruah said. “This decision puts the city on a path to achieve its most essential function — providing Detroiters the services they deserve — and sets the stage for a growing, vibrant Detroit. The private sector is thriving and businesses continue to invest in Detroit. Addressing Detroit’s financial instability is the final barrier to robust growth.”
The Detroit Institute of Arts, the assets of which have been mentioned as possibly facing liquidation in a bankruptcy filing, issued a statement expressing disappointment that Orr has decided to enter chapter 9.
“Like so many with deep roots in this city, the Detroit Institute of Arts is disappointed that the emergency manager determined it was necessary to file for bankruptcy,” the DIA said. “As a municipal bankruptcy of this size is unprecedented, the DIA will continue to carefully monitor the situation, fully confident that the emergency manager, the governor and the courts will act in the best interest of the city, the public and the museum.”
The DIA said it remains committed to its earlier position that the “Detroit Institute of Arts and the City of Detroit hold the DIA’s collection in trust for the public and we stand by our charge to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of all Michigan residents.”
However, Judge Ray Reynolds Graves, a former federal bankruptcy judge, said in an interview with this writer that protection of the DIA’s assets depends on what takes place in bankruptcy court.
“In chapter 9 all kinds of contracts get broken and breached to free the entities from burden. But the person who suffers the breach has the right to file a claim,” Graves said.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:17
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
GOVERNOR RICK SNYDER and Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr announced last week that the city is in chapter 9 bankruptcy, making Detroit the largest municipality in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy. – Andre Smith photos
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder took an unprecedented move last week, authorizing Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr to place the state’s largest city into chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.
In doing so, Detroit became the largest municipality in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy, a move that has wide-ranging ramifications in the face of assurances that this is the best solution for the city.
At issue right now is the legitimacy of the bankruptcy filing by Orr who is being accused by pensioners and creditors of not negotiating in good faith in addressing the city’s $18 billion legacy debt.
Federal Judge Steven Rhodes, who has been selected to hear the bankruptcy case, will hold a hearing this week on the good faith negotiation claim. Orr and Snyder vehemently denied the accusations this week in my sit-down interview with both men following their announcement of the chapter 9 filing. They both insisted that the bankruptcy move is to salvage Detroit from its economic crisis.
“We’ve gotten here after 60 years and how many times, if you look back, could you say something should have been done,” Snyder said. “I just want to make it crystal clear that I’m going to take responsibility for this action. I think it’s too bad that it’s taken this long to fundamentally solve this problem. That’s why I take it seriously.
“Every single day that passed without doing this, Detroit would just go downhill even more. Let’s use the bankruptcy court mechanisms because there are no other options to address the debt question. And this is our chance to talk about better services for the citizens.”
This is a serious gamble for both Snyder and Orr, especially after e-mails this week surfaced showing that bankruptcy was the initial thought at the time of Orr’s hiring.
That made union leaders fire back saying there was a rush to bankruptcy instead of a good faith negotiations with labor and all other parties involved.
And because there is no precedent in this region, or anywhere else in the country, for this kind of massive financial restructuring, the consequences remain unknown, albeit a federal judge holds the answer to all of this.
“My concern is not the politics of this situation, not the public relations. My concern is for the 700,000 people here in the city,” Snyder fired back. “They are not getting what they deserve in terms of services. They are my customers. They hired me to do the job along with 9 million Michiganders. By giving them better results we can also say Detroit is going to be a great place again.”
At the very core of this proceeding now playing out in the public domain is the fate of retirees whose benefits could be slashed either in half or almost totally to satisfy creditors.
“If you are talking about the retiree portion of this proposal of unsecured creditors, it does represent the largest portion of that $11.9 billion,” Orr said. “The reality for retirees is only the unfunded portion of the liability. There are only two retirement funds — general services and police and fire. They have assets at their disposal.”
Orr said the issue is the unfunded portion of the retirement funds to deal with the bankruptcy.
“Rest assured that for the rest of 2013 it will be the status quo in the city and employees and retirees. We have to try to come up with a solution for those unfunded portions of the police and fire funds,” Orr explained. “There will be concessions that need to be made, but where is the alternative? They’ve already been made for decades. We are borrowing from the pension fund, deferring pension contributions.”
He said the city is where it is today “because in 2005 the city borrowed $1.5 billion that was supposed to correct the problem. Then in 2009 they were in default because they couldn’t make those payments. We pledged our casino revenue and kicked that can down the road.”
Orr said despite the opposition, no one is coming up with a solution because the hole is too deep.
But union leaders disagree.
Al Garrett, president of AFSCME Local 25, during a Monday news conference denied there was any financial crisis.
“It’s not a financial crisis. It’s a moral crisis,” Garrett said. “We thought there would be a good faith effort to negotiate.”
Orr said he is unfazed by the challenge.
“That’s why there is an eligibility requirement. We think very strongly there is only one conclusion: bankruptcy,” Orr said.
Can the federal government help as it did with the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler?
The White House only said it is monitoring the situation in Detroit and subsequent reports stated that Orr has been frustrated by Washington’s lack of involvement in this monumental action taken in Detroit last week.
Certainly, we do not expect Detroit to be given a blank check from the White House or a bailout as it did for General Motors and Chrysler. But some form of concrete and realistic help is needed from Washington to save a major American city that was at one time the pride of the world.
The White House cannot stand by and watch. It should be involved in this process no matter how it feels about a Republican administration in Lansing driving this economic motion in Detroit.
Every auditor general’s report for the last decade has shown that Detroit has been spending more than it can afford. And that did not make services to hard-pressed taxpayers and those invested in this city any better.
In the real world, Detroit’s sorry financial state did not start with the filing of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy was only a matter of time.
Could it have been avoided? A federal court decision in the wake of e-mails this week showing that there was concerted effort in the corridors of power to push bankruptcy with Orr’s appointment will decide whether this moment in history could have been addressed another way.
There is going to be a lot of pain because thousands of retirees who are not responsible for the actions of politicians and public officials charged with the public trust will have to pay the bitter price. All of their life’s financial worth embodied in their pension benefits stand to disappear by the stroke of a judge’s pen.
But the bitter lesson in this is the election of good faith leaders who will serve Detroit diligently and honestly. The city will do much better if it never returns to the types of administrations that have too often served this city.
“The retirees are going to take a cut in federal bankruptcy court. But how deep the cut is depends on how much money is left to pay creditors. This is like a giant chess game,” said former federal bankruptcy judge Ray Reynolds Graves.
If the creditors, some of whom are general obligation bond holders, are required to be paid 100 percent, are not satisfied with the cuts, they can point to the Detroit Institute of Arts, Belle Isle, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and other city owned assets as possibly being for sale to satisfy the billions the city owes them.
Orr has an obligation to negotiate in good faith according to Graves, because a federal judge could dismiss chapter 9 because the emergency manager did not negotiate in good faith.
And Judge Rhodes will decide this week if in fact Orr negotiated in good faith.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:07
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Amber Bogins
This week, Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI12) joined Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH14), Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI09), Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI10), Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY25), and Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI06) to introduce a bipartisan Great Lakes package that would authorize comprehensive programs to protect the Great Lakes and boost economic growth in the Great Lakes region.
The Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2013, H.R.2773, would address invasive species problems, coordinate protection and restoration efforts, and bring together business and environmental organizations with a shared interest in the Great Lakes.
"As a lifelong outdoorsman and conservationist, I firmly believe that we owe it to future generations to restore and protect a national treasure such as the Great Lakes," said Dingell. "We have made great strides over the decades to bring back native species populations, improve the water quality, and bring back recreation opportunities and this legislation will significantly help continue those efforts."
"The Great Lakes is one of the jewels of the United States and it's imperative we protect it for its environmental significance but also because of its economic might," said Joyce. "Studies have shown more than 1.5 million jobs are directly connected to these five lakes, generating $62 billion in wages. I'm proud to be part of the bipartisan group fighting for our Great Lakes."
"Congress needs to do more, not less, to protect the Great Lakes and provide resources for their full restoration," Levin said. "The bill we are sponsoring today is a major step in the right direction, but it will be essential for Congress to follow up and provide the resources to fully fund all these vital Great Lakes programs and initiatives."
"The Great Lakes are an environmental treasure to both our economy and natural resources; protecting them is of the utmost importance," Miller said. "As legislators, it is imperative we ensure that the right policy is in place to provide needed and long-term framework to sustain the Great Lakes. We must continue to move forward vital Great Lakes restoration projects and programs aimed at sustaining the natural habitats and protecting against invasive species and pollutants."
"I am proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in supporting and protecting the Great Lakes – a source of 20 percent of the world's surface fresh water and generator of 1.5 million jobs," said Rep. Slaughter, Co-Chair of the Great Lakes Caucus in the House. "This legislation will improve water quality, rid our water of invasive species and help clean up our beaches – especially Ontario Beach in my district – spurring tourism and expanding recreational activity opportunities."
"It'd be difficult to exaggerate the impact that the Great Lakes have on regional commerce, tourism, recreation, and transportation. And we've only scratched the surface of potential in some of these areas," Petri said. "It's absolutely vital that we have in place good policy to make sure that future generations are able to enjoy the Great Lakes that are free from pollution, deterioration, and invasive species, which can all have serious long-term consequences. As a member of the Great Lakes Task Force in Congress, I am pleased to be working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect this great natural resource."
Authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an action-oriented, results-driven initiative targeting the most significant problems within the basin, including aquatic invasive species, toxics and contaminated sediment, nonpoint source pollution, and habitat and wildlife protection and restoration.
Reauthorize the Great Lakes Legacy Act which has successfully at removed contaminated sediment from the U.S. Areas of Concern (AOC).
Reauthorize the Great Lakes National Program Office, the primary liaison between all Great Lakes programs and the EPA
Authorize The Great Lakes Interagency Task Force (IATF) which would bring together eleven U.S. Cabinet secretaries and federal agency heads to coordinate restoration of the Great Lakes amongst the different agencies.
Authorize the Great Lakes Advisory Board (GLAB), which will be composed of members representing a broad range of interests across the Great Lakes including, business, environmental groups, agricultural groups, foundations, youth groups, environmental justice groups, and academia. The GLAB will provide recommendations to the IATF on matters pertaining to Great Lakes restoration and protection.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 13:15
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